Starkville resident Candy Feng’s photograph of her son, Jonathan, next to an imposing glacier in Iceland is one of 10 finalists in the People category of Smithsonian magazine’s annual photo contest. “I was told the glacier is receding each year and more and more ice is breaking off. The image of him in front of the glacier will always remind me of the scale of man to nature. Men can never replace the landscape. We are only part of it,” said Feng. Photo by: Candy Feng/Courtesy photo
May 3, 2014 11:03:02 PM
Shaoshin Candy Feng of Starkville is a traveler, one who journals her explorations with a Nikon 40D camera. England, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Scotland and the Czech Republic are a few of the destinations recorded in her passport. But it was in Iceland that she took a photograph recently chosen as one of 10 finalists in the People category of Smithsonian magazine's 11th Annual Photo Contest.
The stirring image was taken one early morning in June 2013, when Feng and her family arrived at Fjallsarlon, a glacier lake along the south coast of Iceland. Feng remembers walking back to the car after taking numerous photographs of the sight before her.
"When I turned my head looking for my son, I saw him standing in the distance, facing the imposing glacier," recalled the Mississippi State University alumnae. "I snapped the image with him being part of the landscape, dwarfed by the looming ice. I stood there for a while, contemplating and admiring. I wanted to remember that moment forever."
Smithsonian photo editors selected 60 finalists -- 10 each in six categories -- from more than 50,000 photographs submitted by photographers from 132 countries. Categories are The Natural World, Travel, People, Americana, Altered Images and Mobile.
The public can vote once every 24 hours for a Reader's Choice at smithsonianmag.com through May 6 at 5 p.m. Central Standard Time. Winners will be announced May 15.
Through the lens
Feng, originally from Taipei, Taiwan, and her husband, Eric, were both international students at Mississippi State in the mid-1980s. They are now business owners and parents of two grown children -- Jonathan, a medical student in Jackson, and Catherine, currently a sophomore at MSU.
The whole family shares a love of travel.
The remote and sometimes melancholy wildness in regions of Scotland and Iceland are among Candy Feng's most memorable locations.
"We love nature, and the more we travel, the more we go back to nature," the photographer said. "When I travel it inspires me so much to take more and more photographs. ... I love art, but I'm not an artist. But I pick up the camera, and like an artist does, you compose ... you see a lot of things through the camera that you don't normally see."
Ironically, Feng is reluctant to have her own portrait publicized. She prefers attention to be on the work instead.
Photographs, she said, are a way to remember a moment forever.
"That's why I love photography; it communicates feeling. Sometimes it's only relevant to the person taking the picture, but I always connect. I will never forget. We are strongly connected with what we photograph; it becomes part of our lives."
Go to the "Photos" link at smithsonianmag.com to view a high quality version of Feng's glacier photograph and other striking photo finalists in the contest categories. Scroll down the page to cast a Readers' Choice vote.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.